Special Topics and Course Descriptions

Fall 2020



EN 312: Medieval English Literature— Culture, Gender, and Genre
(Dr. David Wood / 4 credits/ Fall 2020/ MW 9-10:40am)

EN 312: Medieval English Literature— Culture, Gender, and GenreThis course offers a selective reading of the prose, poetry, and drama of writing in English from the 8th through the 15th centuries. Drawing on everything from that masterpiece of monster stories, Beowulf, to a moving selection of Anglo-Saxon minor poetry; from a keen example of medieval drama, Everyman, to a miraculous saint’s life, St. Erkenwald; from the wit and passion of medieval English lyric poetry, to the knotty, linguistic brilliance of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, and Pearl; from a range of striking characters found in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, to John Mandeville’s immensely popular traveler’s narrative of prodigiousness and wonder; from Marie de France’s shrewd Anglo-Norman romances, to Margery Kempe’s intense spiritual self-examination— this class will expose you not only to some of the most important literary works of England’s medieval period, but in many ways to some of the most exquisite literary works in English from any period. In doing so, the works on our syllabus will deepen your understanding of the intellectual and cultural traditions that shape in great measure both how and what we think today. As part of our study, we will consider, as well, a range of the specific social, economic, political, and theological influences that color the literature of this vast period. Frankly, it will be an honor to be able to share these works during the Fall 2020 semester, and I look forward to it immensely. Questions? dwood@nmu.edu

Artwork: ~ The Bayeux Tapestry (c. 1070), detailing the Norman Invasion of 1066. Note here Harold Godwinson, claimant to the throne, shot in the eye with an arrow by William the Conqueror’s troops.

EN 363: Studies in Genre— Drama 2,000 Years of Family DramaEN 363: Studies in Genre— Drama 2,000 Years of Family Drama
(Dr. David Wood / 4 credits / Fall 2020 / MW 1-2:40pm)

This course offers a singular opportunity to familiarize yourself with an advanced survey of Western drama spanning its first 2,000 years: from the ancient Greeks up through to the 18th century. By placing its focus on the family (and various familial figurations), this cross-generic course— titled “Family Drama”— will include key plays written by extraordinary playwrights sweeping across this vast stretch of time. Participants can expect to encounter the following works: The Oresteia trilogy (Aeschylus); Oedipus Rex and Antigone (Sophocles); Medea and The Bacchae (Euripides); Lysistrata and The Clouds (Aristophanes); the medieval morality play, Everyman (Anonymous); Doctor Faustus (Marlowe); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare); The Roaring Girl (Middleton); The Rover (Behn); Tartuffe (Moliere); and She Stoops to Conquer (Goldsmith). In addition to engaging in scintillating class discussions, exploring live theatre, and examining various film clips, course participants can expect to complete two short essays, a group presentation, and a longer essay. Questions? Please feel free to contact me at the following email address: dwood@nmu.edu


(John Collier, Clytemnestra [1882])

EN495/595: Queer Literature  and Theory: A Comparative Approach (Jaspal K Singh)

EN495/595: Queer Literature  and Theory: A Comparative Approach (Jaspal K Singh)

This course focuses on the comparative literary studies of seminal gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, and transgender writers analyzed in the contexts of queer theories to familiarize EN495/595: Queer Literature  and Theory: A Comparative Approach (Jaspal K Singh)students with the core texts and debates about the construction and representation of queer sexuality. During the course, students will pay special attention to some of the historical and contemporary theoretical debates regarding the interdisciplinary field of queer studies. We will use queer theories to discuss histories of sexuality and the politics of sexual desire. We will examine forms of oppression, such as heterosexism, homophobia and transphoboia to understand resistance to sexual oppression. How are diverse experiences of sexuality represented in literature, art and the media? How does queer sexuality intersect with other categories of identity, such as race, ethnicity, class, nation and culture? Students will also have the opportunity to discuss social justice issues and research organizations working towards social justice for LGBTQIA+ community members.

Select Course Texts (Tentative):


  • Judith Butler, Undoing Gender.
  • Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, Vol. 1.
  • Deborah T. Meem, Michelle A. Gibson, and Jonathon F. Alexander, eds., Finding Out: An Introduction to LGBT Studies.
  • C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
  • Julia Serano, selections from Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of FemininityEN495/595: Queer Literature  and Theory: A Comparative Approach (Jaspal K Singh)
  • A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America, Leila J. Rupp


  • James Baldwin, Another Country.
  • Mariko Tamaki, Skim
  • The Book of Salt, Monique Truong
  • Shani Mootoo, Cereus Bloom at Night
  • Zackie Achmat, "My Childhood as an Adult Molester: A Salt River Moffie"


  • Before Stonewall
  • Tongues Untied
  • Paris is Burning
  • My Beautiful Laundrette
  • Two Spirit People 

Winter 2021

EN 504 Principles of Critical Investigation [WEB]

EN 512 Teaching Literature [WEB]

EN 517 TESOL Methods and Materials

EN 570 Seminar in American Literature (Literature and Spectacle)

EN 600 Fiction Workshop [WEB]*

EN 602 Creative Nonfiction Workshop [WEB]*

*Prerequisite or instructor permission required.